February 15, 2012

05CN: Adventists Among Survivors in Italian Cruise Ship Disaster

Adventists Among Survivors
in Italian Cruise Ship Disaster

Grateful to God, family returns to Peruvian Union University (Posted Feb. 16, 2012)

BY ROSMERY SÁNCHEZ C., South American Division, ?reporting from Lima, Peru


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 GREAT HOPE: Milton Paredes Paredes and daughter Diana Meled credit the faith they gained from reading the Bible and The Great Controversy, by Ellen G. White, with sustaining them during the ordeal of the Italian cruise liner Costa Concordia capsizing off the coast of Giglio, Italy, PHOTOS: UPU 

he family of Milton Paredes ?Paredes and daughter Diana Edelmira Miled, having survived the January 13 sinking of the Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia, returned to Peru grateful to God for having preserved their lives in this tragic accident. Approximately 4,200 passengers were on board the vessel, which had left Rome only hours before.

As of January 29, 17 people are confirmed dead as a result of the accident, in which the massive cruise ship sustained a gash in its side as it sailed too close to the Italian coast near Giglio, then capsized. Another 16 are missing and presumed lost, officials said, as recovery efforts continue.

Besieged by Peruvian media, the Paredes family decided to go to Peruvian Union University (UPU) as a place of refuge, in the company of close family members who are employees of the Adventist-owned school.

During their stay on campus, Parades told his experience: “On Friday evening the Sabbath had just begun. Other passengers were wearing their best outfits to attend the dinner cruise show. I told my family that we would not attend [the performance] because we were in the sacred hours and we had to keep the Lord’s Day. As we were sleeping the accident occurred,” said Paredes, who holds a Master of Business Administration degree from UPU. His daughter, Diana Miled, is also a UPU alum.

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 BACK HOME: Paredes and Meled pose with family and friends on the campus of Peruvian Union University, near Lima, after returning home from their ordeal.

Each grabbed their most valuable possessions, including a Bible belonging to Parades, and left the room together. While awaiting evacuation, they were pushed by the crowd and ?fell into the frigid waters of the Mediterranean.

At home they remember these moments as proof that the Lord has placed their lives in His hands. Paredes said: “The tests help us grow and become better Christians,” knowing that God has a special plan for them.

Another Peruvian, ship employee Erika Fani Soriamolina, is credited with saving many lives, as she directed passengers to lifeboats and gave away her own life jacket. Media reports indicated that her body was found on January 28.